If you, like me and many 'Mericans, watched the Super Bowl you probably noticed a few things. A) Holy shit when did advertising become a contest to make the audience as depressed as possible. B) YOU HAVE MARSHAWN LYNCH. And C) Boy there are a lot of mobile game commercials. Particularly Game of War, a crap game many have been suckered into trying cause, hey, clevage. Additionally there was a brilliant Clash of Clans advert featuring the Neesons himself. Both games are F2P junk. That didn't stop one person at my party from going "I mean it's mobile games, it's the future." Sigh.
I'm so sick of hearing that mobile games are the future. They aren't. They really aren't and I'm going to tell you why. When the PS4 and Xbone were preparing to roll out you couldn't read any coverage on it without the inevitable "Is this the last generation? Are consoles obsolete? Has mobile gaming killed the console?" headline. Then the PS4 came out and obiliterated records. The Xbone came out to a strong launch as well. The momentum never stopped either. The PS4 sold like gangbusters throughout all of 2014. This past holliday season was a throwback to the days of old as sites were trying to guess which console would own the holliday. Clearly, there is a demand for console gaming. Gamers, both casual and hardcore are in search of the experiences that console gaming has to offer. I'm sorry but no one is choosing Trivia Crack over Call of Duty, both arguably aiming at the same audience.
Second, if anything is the future of games it's the PC. I'm genuinely jealous of PC gamers sometimes. The PC has the most diverse selection of games this side of the Vita. Yeah, I said it. The PC has the FPS, the MOBA, the RTS, most if not all of the multi-platform console games in addition to a constantly expanding library of indie games. No matter what type of gamer you are, casual or hardcore, the PC has something for you. Granted, it's barrier for entry is pretty high given the amount of money you have to drop on a PC but even there we're seeing developers such as Valve try to find ways to bring that barrier of entry down.
Third, handhelds still are in the market. The 3DS has a huge install base, the Vita has it's dedicated fanbase. The interest in the New 3DS seems to be pretty positive. Simply put, handheld gaming is still going strong. With Pokemon and Smash Bros killing it on the 3DS and the Vita's growing reputation as a pocket PC in terms of indie games, I don't see app store games giving these things a genuine run for their money. I think they just form a ecosystem in which the iPad, iPhone, 3DS and Vita all co-exist, each delievering unique experiences without really taking over the other.
Lastly, mobile games have such a short lifespan. The most successful mobile games tend to be trends as opposed to long lasting experiences. There has yet to be the definative mobile game. One that has managed to stand the test of time. You could argue that Hearthstone is on track to become that but I see it more as an anomaly than the norm. On the whole, mobile games are hot for a month or so and then rapidly die. Remember Words with Friends? Draw Something? Flappy Bird? Fruit Ninja? How many people do you honestly know still playing those games? Trivia Crack is the latest game to catch on and I'm already seeing people falling off of that. When the mobile game manages to deliever it's killer app, it's Mass Effect, it's Last of Us, hell, it's Call of Duty then I could be okay with it being heralded as the future. Until then though, mobile games are essentially what Solitaire and 3D Pinball were on old school PC's. Simple diversions while you wait for something else to do.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not discrediting the genre. I dabble in some Terra Battle while I take the light rail to work and Hearthstone is my go to when my girlfriend has the tv. I can't in good faith though say that this is the future of gaming. Cause outside of Hearthstone, I've yet to play a mobile game that has given me an experience comparable to what I've experienced on consoles, PC's and even dedicated handheld devices.